Shattered Nerves: How Science Is Solving Modern Medicine's Most Perplexing Problem

Overview

Once the stuff of science fiction, neural prosthetics are now a reality. Research and technology are creating implants that enable the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and the paralyzed to move.

Shattered Nerves takes us on a journey into a new medical frontier, where sophisticated, state-of-the-art medical devices repair and restore failed sensory and motor systems. In a compelling narrative that reveals the intimate relationship between technology and the physicians, ...

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Overview

Once the stuff of science fiction, neural prosthetics are now a reality. Research and technology are creating implants that enable the deaf to hear, the blind to see, and the paralyzed to move.

Shattered Nerves takes us on a journey into a new medical frontier, where sophisticated, state-of-the-art medical devices repair and restore failed sensory and motor systems. In a compelling narrative that reveals the intimate relationship between technology and the physicians, scientists, and patients who bring it to life, Victor D. Chase explores groundbreaking developments in neural technology.

Through personal interviews and extensive research, Chase introduces us to the people and devices that are restoring shattered lives, from implants that enable the paralyzed to stand, walk, feed, and groom themselves, to those that restore bladder and bowel control, and even sexual function. Signals from the brains of paralyzed people are captured and transformed to allow them to operate computers. Brain implants hold the potential to resolve psychiatric illnesses and to restore the ability to form memories in damaged brains.

This timely and important book also explores troubling boundaries between restoration and enhancement, where implants could conceivably endow the able-bodied with superhuman capabilities. Chase concludes this fascinating book with a provocative question: Just because we can, does that mean we should?

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Lancet
Victor Chase eloquently discusses the 'human machine' and how the harmful effects of faulty wiring and misfiring electrics can be reversed by modern technology
Choice
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of neural prosthetic research, this book will attract graduate students and professionals in medicine, engineering, chemistry, computer research. Perhaps those who could benefit the most from reading it, however, are bright undergraduates; the researchers' stories, and the discussion of the impact they have had on their research subjects' lives, may help college students in search of career direction.
New Scientist
[A] calm, competent, contemporary account of the development of devices to repair nervous systems responsible for the senses, movement and other functions.
Cerebrum
Chase achieves his formidable aim, enabling the reader to make connections between scientific endeavor and its application to the lives of the vivid individuals to whom he introduces us.
SciAmMind
This is dramatic stuff... The book is a valuable introduction to an important subject.
Nature Medicine
Comprehensive and easily readable... Shattered Nerves weaves a history of how a field evolves.
Library Journal
Can an implant cure blindness? How about paralysis? Neural prostheses might be capable of treating or curing some of the most difficult problems afflicting humans today. Devices that simulate, replace, or bypass nerves have the potential to help those disabled with nervous system and sensory disorders. Science and technology journalist Chase explores the world of these up-and-coming technologies, starting with an explanation of how electrical impulses run our bodies, then moving on to a discussion of the first cochlear implants. Chase profiles the scientists and patients who have contributed to the research that, in addition to helping the neurologically disabled, may have application for Parkinson's disease, bladder disorders, arthritis, and any other condition for which muscle or nerve stimulation could be beneficial. The brave new world of brain implants and computers controlled remotely by thoughts is upon us and, surprisingly, has been developing for 40 years. Written for educated lay readers, this book won't fly off public library shelves but will greatly interest those affected by neurological disorders. Recommended for academic libraries and consumer health collections.-Elizabeth Williams, Washoe Cty. Lib. Syst., Reno Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801885143
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2006
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Victor D. Chase is a science and technology writer who has written for a variety of publications, including Air & Space, IBM’s Think Research, MIT’s Technology Review, Nature Medicine, Popular Science, Science Digest, National Forum, R&D Magazine, Mechanical Engineering, and Environmental Health Perspectives.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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